I have laughed before, and I have laughed until I have cried, but in all my experiences with laughter I may never have had an episode of such intense laughter as I did in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
I don't find many things all that funny. What other people call comedy I call words. However, when something does find that sweet spot of humor I end up laughing in what could only be called a fit of laughter. Then, instead of the moment passing, my mind maintains that point of maximum humor for what seems to be longer than other people. This always got strange looks when I was in school.
So, at 3:30AM Sunday morning I was in the midst of an NHL 11 game on the Xbox. There were three other people on the team and we had been playing for many hours. During an intensely close game a random fact popped into my head. I am a resource of useless knowledge and when a random fact like this one pops into my mind I have to ask the question. The question at hand was, "Why is Taco Bell called Taco Bell?" What came next was nothing short of pure hysteria.
At first there was silence. Maybe it was because the other team had the puck in our zone, or maybe no one knew the answer. Then, right before I was going to give the answer, Rob, the friend from Vancouver, gave the humorous answer, "Maybe it's because when you want a taco you ring the bell." I lost it.
When I say I lost it I was at the point where breathing is difficult. I have no idea how I didn't wake anyone up in the house, much less the neighborhood because I was laughing harder than should be allowed by law. I don't know if anyone else found the line as funny as I did, but when he said the line I visually saw people lined up wanting tacos ringing a bell.
In the midst of my laughing storm Rob made it worse by saying, "And you ring twice if you want extra salsa!" If I hadn't already totally lost it I was now a lost cause. As I said, it was a close game, and my eyes had so many tears in it I could not see. Oxygen was quickly being used up and breathing wasn't easy as well. My virtual, if he could think for himself, had to be thinking as to why he was constantly skating into the boards miles away from the play.
Thankfully the play on the game was stopped due to some reason or another and we were able to pause the game. The laughter still was as strong as it could be and I kept seeing people ringing bells. Why was this funny? I'm not sure, but trust me when I tell you that writing this right now is tempting me to go back into that rage of laughter.
As I said, this type of laughter is something I have experienced before, and when it happens there is no simple off switch. Very rarely will a traditional stand-up act make me laugh, but I have been known to lose it to sarcasm, irony, or most of all visual concepts because I can truly see it as if it were real. Once that happens it's all over except from the pains in the stomach from laughing to hard.
After about five minutes I regained my composure just enough, and in a voice that I think stressed just how worn out I was from laughing I said, "It's Taco Bell because the guy who started it was named Glen Bell... but if you want a taco you ring the bell!" and I lost it again.